Physical and Mental Health

Understanding the potential health risks and other conditions in your host country that can impact student health and/or access to health care before departure is critical for having a successful semester abroad.  We encourage all students to disclose any past or present mental or physical health needs to OIED, the Counselling Center, Student Health Services, and/or the Office of Disability Services, so that students can determine prior to departure the types of support resources that will be needed  for the duration of the student’s study abroad program.

We recommend that all students have a routine check-up with their medical practitioner(s) before traveling abroad to discuss continuation of any ongoing care plans, including any support for medical conditions while abroad, prescription medications you will need to continue while abroad, food/environmental and other allergies you may have, and/or mental health needs.  If you have a medical condition that is not easily identified (diabetes, epilepsy, severe allergies), you should wear a medic alert bracelet while you are abroad and consider adding a translation. You should also inform OIED, traveling companions, roommates, and on-site staff so that they can be prepared in case of an emergency. Be sure to discuss a plan with your medical practitioner before you leave home.  

If you have any chronic or recurrent medical conditions (including but not limited to asthma, heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, chronic pain, immunosuppressive disorders, etc…), please consider this and make sure that you are mentally and physically capable to participate in your upcoming travel itinerary.  

After acceptance to the education abroad program, students will be asked to complete the Health Self-Disclosure Form(PDF, 463K).


Mental Health

Education Abroad programs can be a fulfilling and challenging experience for all students.  It can also present additional challenges for students with mental health conditions due to the added stress, unfamiliarity, culture shock, language barriers, and removal from a local support system.  Even for students without a history of mental health conditions, the impact of moving to a new environment can influence a student’s wellbeing.  

We encourage all students to describe to their mental health practitioner their intended study abroad plans, including which countries you would visit, what you would be doing, and the duration of the program.  We also encourage all students to disclose any past or present mental health needs, including prescription medication, to OIED, Student Health Services, the Counseling Center, and/or the Office of Disability Services so that students can determine prior to departure the types of support resources that will be needed for the duration of the student’s study abroad program.

Past or current treatment for psychiatric and mental health conditions does not preclude you from studying abroad. However, if a healthcare professional recommends no travel or travel under certain conditions that cannot be met at a certain study location, you may be encouraged to focus on your health first, postpone program participation until a later time or find a more suitable study abroad location.  

Please review the following steps for managing mental health conditions while abroad:

  • Meet with your mental health professional prior to departure to discuss:
    • Participating on an education abroad program and implications of going abroad
    • Your plan to manage your health while abroad
    • Access to alternative support networks
  • Discuss a realistic communication plan for your time abroad with your support networks (i.e. family and friends).
  • Understand that ups and downs are normal during study abroad. Check in often and seek support if you are feeling ups and downs that are more intense than expected.
  • Connect with the Counseling Center, Office of Disability Services, Student Health Services, and OIED prior to departure to set up onsite care with a mental health care professional, should you require this support.
  • Plan to bring sufficient amounts of prescriptions with you for the entire duration of your program. Work with your medical practitioner and OIED to be sure you can safely bring all necessary prescriptions abroad.


Students with Disabilities

OIED is committed to providing education abroad opportunities to students with disabilities.  The key for any study abroad participant is flexibility. OIED and the Office of Disability Services are available to help students find accessibility information for each program.

For additional information, students are encouraged to contact Mobility International for assistance in finding programs and overseas support services.

(Coming soon - For additional information please visit the Student Identity section of our website).